I was working on a post the other day and the TV show Nothing but Trailers was on in the background. It got me thinking about some of my all-time favorites and what constitutes a great trailer.
First of all, it can’t just be a series of scenes from the movie. That really irks me! What’s the point of me going if you’ve already given me your best shots? Just lazy.
An excellent trailer peaks your curiosity gets your heart-stirring and demands that you’re first in line to see it. An incredible trailer gives you minimal information but builds the anticipation with atmospheric music, punctuation shots, and an ending that elicits the core emotion of the film.
This is the criteria I applied to the following trailers and is the basis for them being some of the most memorable.
Number One has got to be the 1979 sci-fi classic – Alien. “In space, no one can hear you scream.”
Starring Sigourney Weaver, director Ridley Scott scared the crap out of me and the little boy sitting in front of me at the theater. Oh, and to make matters worse, I was pregnant at the time. Yikes! (if you’ve seen it you understand if you haven’t, what?? You must!) And my girl Sigourney Weaver showed the world what a badass woman in space looks like.
This is the epitome of an incredible trailer. Little bits and moments and truly haunting music. My heart was racing and I had no idea of what I’d just seen.
The visuals were outstanding! There was absolutely nothing familiar in the images coming off the screen. The Alien and its accompanying elements were designed by Swiss surrealist artist H. R. Giger. (I don’t know how he slept with those images in his head) The film received both critical acclaim and box office success, receiving an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
Number Two is the sci-fi thriller –The Dark Knight (2008) – “Why So Serious?”
First of all, Heath Ledger. Second of all, Heath Ledger!! Even in the trailer, his intensity shines thru. He draws you in and you’re compelled to see more. His Oscar-winning performance was incredible and the most talked about that year.
Ledger almost made a complete sweep of over twenty awards for acting, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
Unfortunately, we lost him, but his genius as The Joker lives on. Starring Christian Bale as the caped crusader and directed by Christopher Nolan, when I saw this trailer I knew where I was going to be on opening night. Totally lived up to the hype.
And, Now Presenting… “The Master of Suspense”!
In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock shocked the world with his groundbreaking thriller. Unsuspecting moviegoers stood in lines that wrapped around the block with no one being allowed admittance after the movie began. Intensifying the anticipation, each patron’s directive was to NOT reveal the ending.
Watch this legend pull on your tension string. From the “Master of Suspense”, Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s – Psycho (1960) “…she just goes a little mad sometimes.”
This trailer shows Alfred Hitchcock taught the world just how horror is done. Fits all my criteria for an incredible movie trailer and then some. Starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, my heart is racing right now re-visiting this magnificent piece of cinema.
Hitch’s stylistic trademarks include the use of camera movement that mimics a person’s gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. In addition, he framed shots to maximize anxiety, fear, or empathy and used innovative forms of film editing. (Wikipedia)
To quote me, “An incredible trailer gives you minimal information but builds the anticipation with atmospheric music, punctuation shots, and an ending that elicits the core emotion of the film.”
An unquestionable classic!
Now that I’ve shared some of my faves, I’d love to hear some of yours! 😎